Friday 1 March 2019


Today, St David's Day, is Richard Wilbur's birthday. He would have been 98 today if he were still with us. Here, in the month of his birth, he observes, with his wonderfully sharp eye, the fate of gale-stripped beech leaves...


Beech leaves which might have clung
Parching for six weeks more
Were stripped by last night's gale
Which made so black a roar

And drove the snow-streaks level.
So we see in the glare
Of a sun whose white combustion
Cannot warm the air.

From the edge of the woods, in gusts,
The leaves are scuttled forth
Onto a pasture drifted
Like tundras of the north,

To migrate there in dry
Skitter or fluttered brawl,
Then flock into some hollow
Like this, below the wall,

With veins swept back like feathers
To our prophetic sight,
And bodies of gold shadow
Pecking at sparks of light.

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